The sad news of Rafiki’s the Male Silverback Gorilla death at a young age of 25years hit the entire Uganda tourism sector. I dread the thought of trackers missing to determine him in deep thought, holding his chin kind of a polygamist planning for his eight wives.
Gorilla tracking in Uganda costs East Africans $70 (sh260,837) et al. $700 (sh2.6m) to spend hour with a gaggle of the globally sought-after Mountain gorillas.
The same adventure costs $1500 (sh5.5m) in Rwanda. the other option is DR of Congo which takes guts of steel, given the civil unrest there.
So, the recent death of a Male Silverback Gorilla Rafiki, 25, brings back vivid memories of adventures in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. we were invited by the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) during a Pearl Of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE) in February 2018.
One of the activities was gorilla tracking familiarization in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. We boarded an Aerolink six sitter at Entebbe International Airport.
In the cockpit was Tina Drazu exuding plenty of confidence. She ran her fingers on the yoke (steering wheel) and dashboard buttons expertly.
“In the control is Obia and Pamoja Safaris your Flight Captain Tina Drazu,” she coed softly. “The flight goes to need us between 45-60 minutes. Make yourself comfortable with water and bananas during a box behind. it’s self-service. Expect pockets of air turbulence. We may lose height.”
While in Bwindi, we were briefed about meeting our long-awaited hosts the Rushegura group of gorillas with Rafiki their leader. Photographers could shoot but strictly no flashlights. We weren’t allowed to eat in the vicinity of the gorillas.
“Because the curious gorillas might need a share of your burger, Rolex, or beverage,” cautioned UWA guide Wilber Tibesigwa. “And within the method sharing what you’re eating Rafiki, Male Silverback Gorilla might mistake your movements for intensions to abduct a beloved. What follows could also be an important blow, on your head which is analogous to being hit with a bag weighing 50kg!”
We were led down steep cliffs, through thorny thickets and muddy grounds following the group’s footsteps. The guides kept communicating to share tips of things of our hosts (the gorillas) who move freely in search of food and water under the leadership of Rafiki. He protects them against predators and other groups contesting for space and any danger from intruders.
Rafiki was the leader of the Rushegura group of gorillas. (Photo by Titus Kakembo)
The sad news of Rafiki’s death at a young age of 25years hit us badly as Pamoja Safaris staff. we dread the thought of trackers missing to determine him in deep thought, holding his chin kind of a polygamist planning for his eight wives.
We gasp for breath imagining the pain the caring Rafiki felt when the spear, according to a handout from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) penetrated its left upper a neighborhood of the abdomen up to the inside organs.
Talking to the UWA spokesman Gessa Simplicious was a revelation of the established order after Rafiki’s death. The mood among the surviving family of Rafiki is visibly sad. they have started eating but not the utmost amount as they used to in his presence.
“There could also be a leadership vacuum currently. Experts say another gorilla which isn’t habituated might inherit the family,” says Gessa. “Good if that happens it’s easier to habituate it because all the others are already transformed. Generally, it is the jungle dynamics dictating the survival of Rafiki’s family.